Combined Special Teams Ratings: Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver

The three Canadian teams in the Northwest Division shared a common bond last season: their special teams weren’t all that special.

There are some issues with the way the NHL calculates its special team percentages. The Philadelphia Flyers, for example, get credit for an efficient power-play and penalty-kill but the NHL doesn’t account for shorthanded goals in its calculations. When you consider that the Flyers led the league in short-handed goals for (16) and against (1), it’s easy to see that they aren’t just good on special teams, they’re one of the best outfits in the NHL.

To compensate for that, today I’ve re-calculated both the penalty-killing and power play percentages by including shorthanded goals for and against. The results weren’t pretty.

On the powerplay side of things, Vancouver’s ranking increased by a fair bit, Edmonton went up marginally, and Calgary’s unit plummeted thanks to 15 shorthanded goals against. On the penalty-kill, Vancouver got slightly worse, Calgary fell off by quite a bit, and Edmonton’s abysmal unit slunk closer to the bottom of the NHL pack.

Combined Rankings

  • Vancouver: 17.4 + 83.3 = 100.7%
  • Calgary: 12.8 + 85.1 = 97.8%
  • Edmonton: 14.7 + 78.4 = 93.1%

What I’ve done here is pretty simple; I’ve taken the adjusted percentages for both units and added them together. A league-average score is 100, and it’s easy to see that none of these teams are especially good on special teams. Vancouver is just slightly better than the league average, Calgary is a fair bit worse than that and Edmonton, drug down by a truly abysmal penalty-kill is 7 percentage points back of average.

If any of these teams entertain hopes of being legitimate contenders in the near future – and Vancouver and Calgary certainly view themselves that way – these numbers need to improve. For Edmonton, massive improvements are needed simply to make it back to the post-season dance.

  • lj

    picture Harlie rockin the front row for tomorrow nights game at the Rex versus the Flamers. Oh, H E double toothpick YEAH!! Hopin for many many fights! hahaha yes!!

  • lj

    One of my favorite Ken Hitchcock quotes from way back is his "105 percent" rule – if you want to be a true Cup contender, your special teams percentages (PP% + PK%) need to add up to 105% or higher.

    JW, if you could, do you think you could provide us with the league wide numbers to see the adjusted spread from 1-30 and if Mr. Hitchcock's assertion is fair, or if there's another benchmark we should be looking with in this regard?

  • lj

    When I went to the game Friday the Oil used every tom dick and harry on the PK and PP. Not sure if other teams are going that far or not. Even the game I was at who'd we have on defense Staios, Arsene, Plante, Gilbert, Strudwick and Chorney. And Chorney led with 5minutes.

    I think Quinn is just trying to find who can fit where and probably doesn't care about those numbers at the moment.

  • lj

    When optimism abounded heading into last season, I had said the Oilers would live and die by their special teams. With the aquisition of Lubo, having Souray back healthy, and the kids poised to contribute: I had expected an effective powerplay. I also mistakenly expected that a MacT coached Oiler team would have an above average PK…

    This year it's the same story heading in: This team will not make the playoffs unless both sets of special teams rise above league average.

    Great breakdown Willis.

  • lj

    MTL looked pretty good last night. The big-small size line firing on all cylinders. Colonel Craig was lookin as dapper as usual. Hope our special teams can gel as nicely as CC's perfectly coiffed silver dome.